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Michigan attendant care – frequently asked questions

July 12, 2011 by Steven M. Gursten

No-Fault attendant care lawyers answer FAQs about in-home attendant care (nursing services) for auto accident victims

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we hear about attendant care and No-Fault benefits.

Be aware that sadly, many insurance company claims adjusters will not inform their own insured customers after a serious injury that attendant care is available. And many lawyers in Michigan are unfamiliar with attendant care, unless they are very experienced handling car accident and No-Fault cases. Even today, there are probably hundreds of Michigan car accident victims who don’t realize that attendant care No-Fault insurance benefits are available to help them.

The easiest way I have found to explain attendant care is that it means exactly what it sounds like – because of the severity of your injury, an attendant is required to provide care. That care is normally help with “activities of daily living,” which can range from help with dressing and bathing, to monitoring and supervision. Think of it as in-home nursing care for people who have suffered very serious injury. It is an incredibly important No-Fault benefit in Michigan.

Here’s more information on attendant care.

Q. What is attendant care?
A. When a car accident victim is injured so badly that he can’t take care of even his most basic needs, such as eating, bathing and getting dressed, the victim’s auto insurance company will pay a nurse or someone in the family to help. That service is called “attendant care.” People also refer to attendant care as “nursing services.”

Q. What are some examples of attendant care, or nursing services?

A. Attendant care help comes in many forms, including but not limited to help with:

o Eating,
o Using the toilet,
o Bathing/grooming,
o Dressing,
o Bed to chair transfers or re-positioning in bed,
o walking or using a wheelchair,
o Food preparation,
o Transportation,
o Administering meds,
o Wound care and medical equipment,
o Monitoring and injured car accident victim,
o Supervision and management of care providers.

Q. Are there any limits on the duration of attendant care?

A. No. It’s not uncommon for doctors to prescribe around-the-clock attendant care, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for seriously injured auto accident victims. Additionally, there’s no limit as to how long a Michigan auto accident victim can receive attendant care, as long as it’s necessary. Attendant care can be a lifetime benefit.

Q. Who pays for attendant care costs?
A. In most cases, the No-Fault insurance company of the auto accident victim will cover attendant care — given the injured person’s attendant care is “reasonably necessary” for his care and recovery.

Q. Who can provide attendant care in Michigan?
A. Attendant care can be provided by nurses, home-health aides, and even family members or legal guardians. In most of my attendant care cases, the family – spouse, child, parent, receives special training so they can provide the bulk of the attendant care, and a service comes in to provided needed rest for the family in catastrophic care cases where it is needed every day, around the clock, for long periods of time.

Q. How much are attendant care providers paid?
A. There is no set statutory rate for attendant care. This is most often where a lawyer is called to help. It is also the area where most insurance companies commit the bulk of the abuse.

A fair attendant care rate depends on a number of things. For example, the average wages in a particular geographical area, such as a heavily rural area vs. a large city like Detroit or Grand Rapids. It also depends on the qualifications of the person performing the nursing services (i.e. home care attendant from a service, nurse or family member). An attendant care service will normally charge a higher amount than an individual. But an individual may be entitled to a commercial agency rate because of benefits such as overtime, vacation or insurance.

As attendant care lawyers, I would estimate that nine out of every 10 attendant care cases our law firm handles today are about a disputed hourly rate of attendant care, the number of hours the insurance company is willing to pay it, or both.

If you have questions about attendant care for a loved one, call Michigan Auto Law at (248) 353-7575. Our lawyers are here to answer all of your questions. The call and the advice is free.

Steven Gursten is recognized as one of the country’s top lawyers handling serious auto accident lawsuits. He writes about Michigan No-Fault laws and attendant care, and is available for comment.

Related information to protect yourself:

Getting the best medical care after a car accident

How to preserve your attendant care rights in Michigan

Reporting car accident injuries in a timely manner

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights to better serve you. Call (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation with one of our attendant care lawyers.

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